Applicants who meet the definition of ‘new entrants’ under the Skilled Worker route can benefit from a discount to the minimum salary requirements. We take a look at how this works in practice.
Skilled Worker route – tradeable points
Applicants under the Skilled Worker route, require 50 mandatory points for meeting the sponsorship, skill level and English language requirements in order to be eligible for permission to enter or stay in the UK.
A further 20 tradeable points must be awarded for meeting the salary requirement. The minimum salary a Skilled Worker needs to be paid for their role will differ depending on the applicant’s circumstances and the role itself. There are six options (A – F) described in the Skilled Worker Sponsor Guidance in which the salary requirement can be met.
Generally, as described in Option A, an applicant’s salary will need to equal or exceed all of the following:
- £25,600 per year;
- £10.10 per hour; and
- the going rate for the occupation code.
In certain scenarios discounts can be awarded and here we will look at how Option E works, for those who qualify as new entrants.
New entrant minimum salary requirement
20 points can be awarded for meeting the conditions of Option E providing the salary equals or exceeds all of the following:
- £20,480 per year;
- £10.10 per hour; and
- 70% of the going rate for the occupation code.
New entrants therefore benefit from a lower minimum salary requirement compared to other workers.
Who qualifies as a new entrant?
To qualify as a new entrant, the applicant must meet one of the following requirements:
- the applicant is under the age of 26 on the date of application; or
- the job offer is for a postdoctoral position in any of the following occupation codes:
- 2111 Chemical scientists
- 2112 Biological scientists and biochemists
- 2113 Physical scientists
- 2114 Social and humanities scientists
- 2119 Natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified
- 2311 Higher education teaching professionals; or
- the job is in a UK regulated profession and the applicant is working towards a recognised professional qualification for that profession; or
- the applicant must be working towards full registration or chartered status with the relevant professional body for the job they are being sponsored for; or
- the application is for permission to stay and the applicant’s most recent permission was as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant; or
- all of the following conditions apply:
- the applicant’s most recent permission, other than as a visitor, was as a Student; and
- that permission is either current or expired less than two years before the date of application; and
- in that permission or any previous permission as a Student, the applicant was sponsored to study one of the following courses (not any other qualifications of an equivalent level):
- a UK bachelor’s degree; or
- a UK master’s degree; or
- a UK PhD or other doctoral qualification; or
- a Postgraduate Certificate in Education; or
- a Professional Graduate Diploma of Education; and
- the applicant has completed (or is applying no more than three months before they are expected to complete) the course above, or the applicant is studying a PhD and has completed at least 12 months study in the UK towards the PhD; or
- the applicant’s most recent permission, other than as a visitor, was as a Graduate, and that permission is either current or expired less than two years before the date of application.
Where an applicant meets one of these criteria, their sponsor can confirm on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), that the worker is a new entrant and as such the more lenient salary requirements will be applied.
How long can you be a new entrant for?
Applicants can be considered as new entrants for a maximum of four years.
These four years will include time spent with permission under any of the following immigration routes:
- Skilled Worker
- Tier 2 (the route Skilled Worker has replaced)
The four years’ permission in these categories does not have to have been continuous.
It is not possible for an applicant to apply for permission under the Skilled Worker route as a new entrant for only a proportion of the time they are applying for.
Mr Smith has held permission in the UK on the graduate route for two years and is now making an in-country application for permission to stay under the Skilled Worker route for a further three years. His salary meets the new entrant requirement but not the general minimum salary requirement.
Mr Smith will qualify as a new entrant, having held permission under the graduate route, but as he has already spent two years in the UK as a Graduate, he can only be considered a new entrant for a further two years. If he is assigned a CoS for three years, he will not be able to rely on Option E to obtain the required 20 tradeable points for salary. The initial CoS should cover two years only so that Mr Smith and his employer can benefit from the new entrant rate during that time. A further CoS can then be assigned if Mr Smith’s employer is willing to pay the general minimum salary rate at that time.
It is therefore important for sponsors to consider how long they wish to assign a CoS for in cases where the new entrant rate is to be relied on.
Even if the pay meets the general minimum salary requirement, we would recommend that the new entrant discount is noted on the CoS anyway. If a reduction in pay is needed for any reason, the relevant minimum level could then be the new entrant level but this would not be the case if the new entrant rate was not referenced on the CoS.
How our immigration solicitors can help
We are experienced in advising both employers and individuals in relation to the minimum salary requirement and should you require any further information about this or any other aspect of sponsorship, please contact us or complete our enquiry form below.